NDF consultant Gamara, priest arrested in Cavite

Rambo Talabong

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NDF consultant Gamara, priest arrested in Cavite
National Democaratic Front consultant Renante Gamara was one of the rebel consultants in the failed peace talks with the Duterte administration

MANILA, Philippines – National Democratic Front (NDF) consultant Renante Gamara has been arrested along with what the police described as “retired priest” Arturo Joseph Balagat on Wednesday, March 20 in Imus City, Cavite.

According to a police report, cops served a search warrant in Gamara’s “safehouse,” leading to the alleged seizure of two hand grenades and a pistol. The police said they also found several electronic devices and documents containing “subversive information.”

Gamara was first arrested in 2012 in Las Piñas City over the kidnapping and murder of soldier Eriberto Eclavea in Mauban town, Quezon. Another arrest warrant was served against him at the time for  frustrated murder charges concerning a rebel returnee.

He was among the NDF consultants released for the peace talks between the Duterte administration and communist insurgents. Police believe he has since become a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines. (READ: The end of the affair? Duterte’s romance with the Reds)

Balagat, meanwhile, is described as a former priest who was ordained in Imus in 1975 and later migrated to the California in 1992. He became a parish priest in the state up until his “early retirement” in 2013.

Police said Gamara is set to face illegal firearms possession charges, while Balagat will be detained with Metro Manila special operations unit operatives “for further investigation.” – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.